It was love at the first sight.
Savamala got me since when I saw Aleksandar Maćašev’s mural from Brankov bridge, when I was approaching the city for the very first time; and even if I planned to visit Savamala on my last day in town, I couldn’t help but getting a preview on my very first Serbian afternoon, and ending up by coming back to this ground-breaking hood every day.
Thanks to the proximity to the river Sava, Savamala was an extremely important harbor area, a borough of traders and dock workers -with the resulting reputation. Now, Savamala is the most dynamic, creative and artistic district of Belgrade, kingdom of hipsters and alternative crowds.
Res-industrial, young, with a strong social dimension and identity, very central and well connected to every area of the town and beyond -thanks to the international bus and train stations-, Savamala is a creative jewel risen from a poor, neglected hood. You will still find a couple of abandoned buildings charmingly waiting to be reconverted into some new place-to-be, but the majority of caterpillar-warehouses on Sava docks already turned into butterflies, reshaping the area into a hip district you shouldn’t miss when you are visiting Belgrade.
First new settlement constructed outside the fortress walls of Kalemegdan (construction began in the 1830’s), Savamala is still at the forefront as an urban incubator researched by art theoreticians and sociologists, a place where artistic projects not only influenced urban development but also brought the neighborhood back to its glorious past of Belgrade’s getaway to the world by welcoming many international artists, performers, musicians and designers.
Even if Savamala is full of alternative venues to dance the night out, I suggest you to adventure it also during the day for an extremely rewarding graffiti hunting, for admiring the liberty charm of its architecture (especially Hotel Bristol and the Cooperative Building, which is considered one of the most beautiful building in town) and to enjoy the wonderful interiors of Savamala’s clubs without a drunken crowd ruining your pictures. I loved the recycled furniture at KC Grad, the glorious club that started back in 2009, the re-vitalization of the area, and the post-industrial Mikser’s open-space, which hosts a restaurant and the Balkan Design Store -where you can find works by extremely talented designers.
They both are two landmarks of Belgrade alternative clubbing scene, so don’t forget to check their calendars while planning a trip. (and if you want more of Savamala amazing interiors, you can check Mladost and Ludost Club and Bar Bašta -from where you can also enjoy a beautiful view on Brankov bridge).
Author: Giulia Blocal www.blocal-travel.com
In case you would like to take a tour and get to know Savamala area better find more info here
Dragana Kostica is the Belgrade-based editor in chief and founder of Still in Belgrade art, culture and club scene magazine. She holds a Master of Arts in Cultural Policy and Management in Arts (MA of Arts) and a Bachelor degree in Archaeology.